Here we have it – the last flip flop of the Abdullah administration, though it is one that works to our advantage and benefits us. The government has deferred the toll rate increase for 5 highways scheduled to take place on the 1st of March 2009, so there will be no increase, instead the government will fork out RM 287 million in taxpayer money to compensate the toll concession holders. The lion’s share will go to PLUS – 195 million, Sprint 36 million, AKLEH 27 million, Besraya 9 million and finally 20 million for the NPE.
Assuming the money is to cover the period from the 1st of the March 2009 until the 31st of December 2009, that’s RM 287 million for a total of 10 months compared to RM 277 million for 14 months compensation paid from the period of 1st of January 2008 to the 28th of February 2009.
Works Minister Datuk Seri Mohamad Zin Mohamad said the Cabinet had decided to defer the hike because of negative public reaction and a gloomy economic outlook. There have also been negative criticism from both BN and Pakatan Rakyat MPs, including one ex-minister Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid who says he feels the burden paying toll at many toll plazas during his regular journeys from Shah Alam to Kuala Lumpur.